The new HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 is facing a challenge. The latest addition to HOKA’s range of trail running shoes has to outmatch its already next to perfect older brother, the Speedgoat 3. The Speedgoat 3 is already a very popular choice amongst neutral runners who like hitting the dirt. We will take a closer look at Hoka’s new crown jewel and will determine whether the Speedgoat 4 does justice to its name.
The basic principles of HOKA ONE ONE are simple; use lightweight materials, add a good dose of cushioning and create a wide midsole with enough meta-rocker to push you forward. The result: you fly down those mountains. Downhill running also is where HOKA found its roots. HOKA doesn’t really need an introduction anymore. In just a few years time, the brand has grown from a small and stubborn newcomer in the running world into a very mature and successful brand that is conquering more and more runners’ hearts. Coincidentally or not; one of the companies bestsellers is the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat.
HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 in detail
Discover the unique characteristics of this model trail running shoes
MAKING GOOD EVEN BETTER?
The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 3 already was an excellent trail running shoe, which was especially suitable for long distance trails. So naturally HOKA didn’t set out to completely overhaul the successful shoe – don’t change goats in midstream, if you will. But feedback from many runners and HOKA’S own forum of athletes showed that some improvements could still be made. Runners indicated that the narrow forefoot of the Speedgoat 3 could be a bit of a nuisance. Therefore, the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 has become a tiny bit wider at the forefoot, 1 mm to be precise. Although it sounds like next to nothing it can surely make the difference between a slightly constricting feel and a snug fit. Where the predecessor was a bit too narrow for many runners, with this change we can confidently say that that is no longer a problem in the Speedgoat 4.
The biggest change of the Speedgoat 4 is found in its upper. The new Single Layer Mesh upper consists of one layer, which increases the breathability of the shoes. The breathability of the Speedgoat 3 was also fine, so there is little difference in that regard. But the upper of the Speedgoat 4 knows to offer this extra bit of breathability while also offering more strength and more durability. Trail shoes often face pretty tough conditions: a more durable upper therefore is something that will always pay off. The 3D overlays of the Speedgoat 4 provide some additional support to the midfoot. This contributes to an overall more stable feel. A tiny point of criticism is that because the upper is a bit stiffer it also has lost some of its flexibility and therefore seems a little less comfortable. On the other hand, this does help provide a better lockdown feel. The new tongue has become thinner, but thanks to its new asymmetrical design you don’t have to worry about pressure points from the laces. Newly added cutouts in the tongue contribute to the improved breathability of the shoes.
A LUXURIOUS RUNNING EXPERIENCE
According to HOKA, the new EVA material in the midsole has become lighter in weight and also has been slightly improved, technically speaking. Thereby making the shoes more responsive than their predecessors. A small fact that has to be mentioned; the Speedgoat 4 has become roughly 10 grams heavier than the Speedgoat 3. The renewed upper therefore removes the weight loss benefit the adapted midsole offered. The Speedgoat remains a trail shoe that provides considerable cushioning, so the heavier weight is not at all strange. This is also one of the reasons that the Speedgoat has become so popular. “To cushion or not to cushion”, is therefore the real question to ask? When choosing for more cushioning, you will always have to surrender some responsiveness and vice versa. The Speedgoat, however, knows to offer a bit of both. Its cushioning is its dominant feature though. The flip side of the high amount of cushioning is that you will not experience a huge amount of ground contact. When opting for a comfortable running experience, especially when running longer distances on technical trails, surrendering a bit of ground contact for more comfort isn’t the worst of choices.
The Goldilocks Principle of Trail Running
Where HOKA’s Stinson provides an abundance of cushioning, the Speedgoat provides just enough cushioning to keep you comfortable. The outsole with its 5 mm cleats has an aggressive look and feel, but is not solely made for mud or soft surfaces. The Speedgoat is also very suitable for running on rocks and stones. The Speedgoat provides just enough of everything and isn’t famed far beyond the land of mud and trails for nothing. The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 certainly continues the Speedgoat legacy.
The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 with its renewed upper and wider forefoot is a beautiful new addition to the Speedgoat series. The heavier weight is not necessarily a step in the right direction, but thanks to the solid design of HOKA’s well-known thick midsole, combined with the Meta Rocker technology and the Vibram MetaGrip outsole, you won’t really notice this during your trail runs. After all, the Vibram MetaGrip outsole, which has proven itself very successful in the Speedgoat 3, gives so much grip and traction that you can fully concentrate on technicalities of your trail or simply enjoy your beautiful surroundings. Who cares about a bit of extra weight when you’re breathing fresh mountain air and filling your nostrils with the wonderful smell of the forest? Yet another small plus of the new HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4; the trail shoes are also available with a GORE-TEX upper. A nice addition for all adventurous runners who don’t want to stay inside because of a bit of rain. As HOKA exclaims; go everywhere, run everything.